By Lila Abu-Lughod
How do humans come to think about themselves as a part of a country? Dramas of Nationhood identifies a ravishing cultural shape that binds jointly the Egyptian nation--television serials. those melodramatic programs--like cleaning soap operas yet extra heavily tied to political and social matters than their Western counterparts--have been proven on tv in Egypt for greater than thirty years. during this e-book, Lila Abu-Lughod examines the moving politics of those serials and how their contents either replicate and search to direct the altering process Islam, gender kin, and daily life during this heart japanese nation.Representing a decade's worthy of analysis, Dramas of Nationhood makes a case for the significance of learning tv to respond to better questions on tradition, energy, and smooth self-fashionings. Abu-Lughod explores the weather of developmentalist ideology and the visions of nationwide development that after ruled Egyptian television--now experiencing a trouble. She discusses the publicizes in wealthy element, from the typical emotional characteristics of television serials and the depictions of genuine nationwide tradition, to the debates infected via their planned suggestions for battling spiritual extremism.
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Extra info for Dramas of Nationhood: The Politics of Television in Egypt
Instead, we would do better to explore the multiple levels at which failures and successes occur by studying the social ﬁelds that structure these engagements and the actual ways that people and groups relate to media. 62 In the ﬁnal chapter of this book, I consider carefully the special nature of national forms like the television serials that are the subjects of this book—forms that are meant to entertain while they teach and that use complex means, including actors who become celebrities, to mobilize fantasies, pleasure, and emotion, sometimes undermining their own intentions with their excess.
54 The argument goes something like this: the nation is an often tense intersection of multiple communities or microcosms, divided and crosscut by region, religious afﬁliation, urban or rural habits, class, gender, and power. National television is imbricated in deeply political efforts to make nations into legit- Ethnography of a Nation 25 imate units, dominated by particular groups and with speciﬁc images of and visions for themselves and for their citizens. 55 As much as the spread of mass and small media around the globe, the shifts in the intellectual terrain of anthropological theory and research have set the stage for this endeavor.
Yet even this is not enough. Anthropologists cannot dispense with “textual” analysis, the equivalent of the symbolic analyses of rituals and myths that have illuminated so much. Even more important, they need to do ethnographies of production. Television programs are produced not just by specialists of a different social status than viewers, like priests and bards, but by professionals of a different class— often urban, rather than rural, with national and sometimes transnational identities and social ties—who are working within structures of power and organizations that are tied to and doing the work of national or commercial interests.